Sorry for the long delay between posts. End of semester takes up all my free time for writing. I will be sharing an interesting paper I wrote about a vegetarian poet from the 19th Century, so…silver linings.
That brings me to my post today. Why being a vegan is way better than being a vegetarian.
My wife and I went vegetarian together 9 years ago while at Warped Tour in Long Island. So, for anyone who has ever volunteered to hand out flyers at an event or just saw these flyers and wondered if they really make a difference, we are living proof that they do. Keep it up!
Seeing the pictures and messages on those flyers scattered all over the ground, covered in dirt, gave us the final push to give up meat. Looking back now, the only thing that surprises me is how long it took us to go vegan.
For 8 years, we lived on a steady diet of cheese at almost every meal. Not really the healthiest vegetarian diet. If you go vegetarian for health reasons, then you probably won’t make the same unhealthy choices I did by eating grilled cheese sandwiches twice a week for dinner. If you go vegetarian for the animals, like I did, then you will probably make the same mistakes as me. You will also say to yourself, or someone else “I will never go vegan, those people are crazy!” 99% of vegans at one point in their lives said or thought this, just ask them.
So what made me vegan? Two things:
- After asking an omnivorous coworker of mine not to tell me what they were looking up about dairy on their computer that day as I sat next to them, and having him read it aloud to me anyway…Justin!…I was filled with horrible guilt. (Yay run-on sentences to emphasize something!).
- Getting involved with a farm sanctuary near my house (check that story out here).
So now that all that useless information is out of the way, I will list why Vegan is greater than Vegetarian, with no boring science to back up my unquestionable claims (shake fist at nonbelievers).
Overall, a vegetarian diet is healthier than omnivorous diets, but as I showed above, there are serious pitfalls. You can’t lower your cholesterol if you consume the amount of cheese and eggs that a lot of vegetarians eat. This will sound gross, just bear with me here…As a vegetarian my BMs resembled that of a deer. While that is all well and good for deer, rabbits, goats, etc… humans are not supposed to drop pellets! This was due to a lack of fiber (too much dairy, not enough veggies). After making the switch, my droppings are the definition of healthy according to Google…moving on!
The second thing I noticed was that I felt lighter, and had more energy, particularly in the morning. When I first went vegetarian, people asked me if I felt any different, and honestly, I didn’t. Admittedly, I rarely ate red meat or pork when I was an omnivore, so maybe that had something to do with it. After transitioning to vegan, I felt great both physically and mentally (more on psychology below). And this will shock meat eaters, but my protein levels went up. Gasp! What did he just write?! Yes people, I actually eat more protein on my vegan diet, than I did on my vegetarian and omnivore diets. And, in case you’re wondering…I am not a whole food plant based vegan. Maybe one day, but “those people are crazy!” I love Oreos too much.
I’ll keep this brief, because this is not a food blog, and I don’t have any original recipes to share. But in a blunt manner VEGAN FOOD IS WAY BETTER THAN VEGETARIAN! It’s so much tastier and full of variety. Awesome vegan restaurants, like Blossom and Cinnamon Snail have the best tasting food I’ve ever eaten. Real vegan food (not the tasteless salads people think we always eat) is filled with flavor and spices and such variety that it’s like visiting a new country with every meal. It’s fantastic. And I want to point out, that I did not expect this when I made the transition. This was a very pleasant surprise.
As a vegetarian, I didn’t really see the world any differently. I never noticed the leather shoes I bought, or the wool sweaters I complained were itchy. I still saw steak as food, but just a food I didn’t feel right eating. My common answer to people when they asked why I went vegetarian was, (and please don’t judge me too harshly for this) …”I don’t think it’s wrong to eat animals. I just don’t agree with the factory farming environment from which they come from.” Awful, I know.
I don’t know if this is going to convince anyone on the fence, but what I will write next is honest.
When you become vegan for moral reasons the world around you will NEVER look the same again. A trip to the food store is like walking into a graveyard with open caskets everywhere. You do not see anything with animal products as food anymore. When I’m asked if I miss any food, I honestly tell them: “I don’t see that stuff as food anymore.” Cheese is not food; it is an orphaned cow. Eggs are not food; they are ground up baby chickens. Wool is not clothing; it is a helpless prey animal forced to surrender its body for humans that have so many other means of keeping themselves warm. Leather…well looking back I never understood why I was OK with leather when I was a vegetarian, weird.
Now, this may seem like it’s too drastic of a change for you to go vegan, but the upside of this is perhaps the best reason why vegan is greater than vegetarian.
You know why the joke goes: “How can you tell if someone is vegan? …Don’t worry, they’ll tell you;” that’s because we are incredibly proud to be vegans. Veganism is not a diet. I repeat, IT IS NOT A DIET. Veganism is a way of life. It is a family that you choose to join. You cannot force someone to become vegan: that will not last. Being vegan fills you with a purpose that your life now makes a difference for the animals you no longer eat/exploit. Every day we “vote” with our dollars (a phrase I heard from Gene Baur) when we do not purchase that beauty product from a cruel company, or that gallon of milk from a “humane” farm (give me a break). We don’t have a strong voice in politics yet, but as our numbers grow, so too does our effect on the marketplace. This is something to be proud of. We protect the unprotected, we are a voice for the voiceless, we are the compassion in a cruel world. Yes, I know that we are mainly focused around animals, but our compassion extends to all living things (human and nonhuman) it is just that the staggering numbers of animals slaughtered and exploited every year takes precedence in our thoughts and actions. But anyone who supports the harm/exploitation or conducts the harm/exploitation towards humans, is not a vegan.
We are proud to be different. We are proud to stand up for animals. We are proud to eat a bland salad at a restaurant, because that’s our only option when our friends or family forget to think of us when picking a place to eat. And when you meet a fellow vegan, there is an instant connection because your world views are in sync. WE ARE LEGION…just kidding, but you get the point.
That’s my short list. There are lots of other reasons why being vegan is so great, but I already exceeded the word limit I try to put on myself for these posts.
As always, thanks for stopping by
P.S. my dog is also a very proud vegan!